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17th January 2011

Organisational Behaviour Audit (OBA) research yields insight into negative behaviour in the workplace

The Organisational Behaviour Audit (OBA) is a unique online survey instrument for ‘taking the temperature’ of your organisation. OBA explores occurrences of, and perceptions of, challenging behaviours. It is a completely anonymous on-line survey tool which encourages frank and honest responses.

Analysis of the findings across a number of NHS organisations has recently begun.  In a sample of approximately 300 employees of one NHS organisation, the headline findings have revealed the following:

  • There are strong associations between stress in the workplace and incidences and perceptions of personal disrespect, mistreatment within the job and, in some cases, incidence or threat of physical harm.
  • Individuals with higher levels of internal locus of control, emotional stability and positivity all experience lower levels of stress in the workplace, than their higher scoring colleagues. This group also perceive and experience lower incidences of negative behaviour, with regard to colleagues, bosses and the climate in general.
  • There are strong associations between occurrences of negative behaviour in each of the dimensions of the OBA instrument (perceptions of personal disrespect, mistreatment within the job and incidence or threat of physical harm), indicating that individuals that perceive negativity in one aspect also perceive it in others.

More complete analysis of this data is currently underway but initial interpretations suggest a central role for psychology in the diagnosis and treatment of negative cultures. It is clear that a downward spiral can occur where an adverse climate leads to negative behaviours which further undermine the climate. However, it is likely that differing personality characteristics influence individual thresholds, sensitivities and tolerance to stress, challenging behaviours and situations. This has clear implications with regard to staff selection and management practices. It is too early to draw definitive conclusions and it is intended to publish full findings over the course of 2011.  Nevertheless, it is probably safe to say that ‘one person’s performance management is another’s bullying’!

If you wish to find out more about OBA click here.  To register an interest in receiving our analysis report once published contact us today on 0161 351 2290 or by emailing [email protected].